Operation Tribute to Freedom

Faces From the Front for December 8, 2008 - Capt. Jason Winkelmann

Captain Jason Winkelmann

Current Unit: 8th Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas
Current Position: Multi-National Corps Iraq (MNC-I) C7 Explosive Hazards Coordination Cell (EHCC) Battle Captain
Component: Active Army
Current Location: Baghdad, Iraq
Hometown: Huntsville, Texas
Years of Service: 6

Capt. Jason Winkelmann is no stranger to the roads of Iraq and Afghanistan. A combat engineer now in Baghdad for his third deployment, Winkelmann oversees efforts to clear the area's routes and roads of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). The devices cause the largest numbers of casualties to both Soldiers and citizens in Iraq of any ordnance, and can be extremely difficult to detect.

Winkelmann's one deployment to Afghanistan and two to Iraq have had him working with new devices and equipment designed to make the work he and his Soldiers do more efficient, effective and safe. Some of the newest technology they are using includes the improved force protection of vehicles used by combat engineers to conduct route clearance, which allows for safer patrols. Explosively Formed Penetrator (EFP) armor is another recent development that is proven to defeat EFP assaults, the most lethal type of IED attack.

"Every month there is new technology arriving in Iraq that changes how we conduct operations and our tactics, techniques, and procedures," said Winkelmann. "Having access to the latest technology available to support our missions is important, because it saves lives."

His passion for the work he does comes from a lifelong love of math and science. Winkelmann achieved a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering at Texas A&M and a Masters in Civil Engineering from University of Missouri, Rolla before receiving his professional engineer's license in January 2008. Winkelmann had expected to apply his skills to construction activities in the Army as it had always been an interest. The irony that someone who enjoyed building things so much, now spends his days deconstructing and demolishing isn't lost on Winkelmann. But the work he and his fellow combat engineers complete is vital to all Soldiers' missions in Iraq and has their skills in high demand. There are more missions than engineers required to complete them all.

Winkelmann was honored recently for his superior engineering skills after being named the Army's Best Sapper in the Army's annual competition of skills. Competing with teammate 2nd Lt. Joel Groves, Winkelmann completed the grueling 50-plus hour competition of stamina, marksmanship, mine identification and land navigation.

Winkelmann is scheduled to return to Fort Hood in April 2009, where he will take command of the 572nd Engineering Company. He will be charged with preparing his Soldiers for the technology and missions they will encounter when they deploy again to Iraq in 2010.

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